There had been a lot of devastating critics about Berlin Biennial at Kunstwerke, but the real novelty of this Biennial is its spread to Dahlem this year. Haus am Waldsee and Staatliche Museen Dahlem present modern art in their rooms, and especially at Ethnologisches Museum at Lansstraße this leads to surprising perspectives and contrasts.
This is because the exhibits of the Biennial are presented alongside the regular exhibits. Partly in their own rooms, sometimes in front of other historical works of art from around the globe and coming from all cultures. OD of art input is guaranteed, and in any case you should plan enough time for this visit. Because there are a lot of video works, and particularly outstanding is the work UNRAVEL by Anri Sala, which you reach via a small staircase.
The high, dark room is classically decorated. Just a video screen, two benches, some speakers. All this is reminiscent of a prayer room, and this corresponds perfectly well with the video itself.
This shows a woman in a bright room, which is much higher than the projection room where the observer is located. Daylight penetrates and shows her face clearly, her absolute concentration. The door is open. The woman is absolutely focused, but she does not pray, but wearing headphones and spinning two turntables and working the mixer. Looks like the classical DJ setting, but we’ve known from the very beginning that is not the case.
Because we listen to classical music which gets mixed here. Which gets scratched and superimposed. Surprising sounds, aesthetic sounds. No DJane in the traditional sense, because coming entirely without any electronic sounds. This is classical music remixed, enriching our listening habits and making evident our most carefully selected boundaries of our taste of music. The surprising factor is simply much larger in the classical music genre. Everything is cut up, ReMix, everything gets a new speed and spin. Strings are stalled. Timpani are trembling extremely slow. Crescendi accumulate in ecstasy. This creates new impact, and this is particularly disturbing because classical music is written down in it´s own language. Traditional rules of listening to classical music are simply overridden here. And they are combined with the skills of the DJane and therefore widely expanded. If only for these sounds in this double cathedral by Anri Sala it pays off to visit Dahlem.
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